Animal Welfare Policy


No. A0092012P

The Australian Utility Stock Dog Society Inc. recognises that it has a ‘Duty of Care’ and is obligated to ensure ethical and responsible welfare of animals that attend, and are worked at, AUSDS Inc. ‘Stock Dog Challenges’ and AUSDS Inc. ‘Try-Out’ days, and that relevant statutes, codes, and guidelines are complied with. Emphasises is placed on the expertise of handling both dogs and stock (sheep and cattle) – stockmanship.



  1. Understanding the capabilities of working stock dogs
  2. Work only dogs that are healthy and that have relevant ability
  3. Knowledge of stock behaviour
  4. Calm positive and caring attitude towards stock and dogs
  5. Practical experience
  6. Common sense




  1. Healthy
  2. Acceptable body condition
  3. Clear vision
  4. Unmixed and even mob (to minimise separation)
  5. Previously handled with dogs


AUSDS Inc. TRIAL RULES (that are already in place)

3 . Any abusive handling of stock and dogs will not be tolerated at an AUSDS Inc. event.
36.* NB Help from handlers may at times be required and even advised by judges, to achieve progression of trial runs eg. a stock blockage at an obstacle may be best rectified with such help.
41. A dog that is likely to show any viciousness towards sheep, shall be muzzled when working in the sheep yards.
40. Judges are entitled, and must disqualify and terminate any aspect of a trial run, [(a), (b), (c) or (d)], that is of inferior work, and which may cause detrimental effect to the welfare of any animals involved. * NB A zero score is given to that aspect of a trial run which is terminated by disqualification.
42. A trial must be terminated if an animal has noticeable injury or bleeding. If the dog is of no fault to the cause of the incident, a re-run may be granted.
43. Judges shall terminate trial runs if handlers display inappropriate language or behaviour.


NEGATIVES (must be avoided)

  1. Any undue stress to both dogs and stock through excessive and over working.
  2. Any crashing and bashing of stock into panels and fences caused through excessive intimidating work from a dog.
  3. Any jamming and crushing of sheep caused through excessive intimidating work from a dog ie. unnecessary ‘back’ and ‘bark’.
  4. Any collapsing of stock caused through unnecessary and shameful worrying, antagonising, and hassling from a dog.
  5. Failure to consider the impacts of high temperatures.


POSITIVES (implement)

  1. Handlers to act in a stockmanship like manner.
  2. Handlers to intervene and help movement of stock with ‘hands-on’ when practical – similarly to what should be done in any sound stock work situation.
  3. Handlers must relieve and minimise the work from a dog if there are signs of stock becoming fatigued (sometimes not foreseen), in order to help stress recovery.
  4. Handlers to aim for steady dog work and calm stock at the finish of every run.
  5. Judges to be aware and eliminate all undue stress to both dogs and stock by immediately terminating a run.
  6. Hydration requirements made available to dogs and stock



Those who are involved in the handling and care of dogs and stock at all Australian Utility Stock Dog Society Inc. events are expected to be competent in stockmanship. Any breaches of this Animal Welfare Policy are to be reported to the AUSDS Inc. Committee for review, and dealt with accordingly under the AUSDS Inc. Rules (Constitution